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A place to say ‘I do’

FRANKLIN LIVING—For many newly-engaged couples, the first major decision after “Yes, I will” is figuring out when and where to say “I do.” From tiny country churches to grand castle-esque venues, from quiet backyard ceremonies to destination weddings on the beach, the options are seemingly endless – and potentially overwhelming. For Franklin County brides who want to embrace the continuing trend with a barn wedding, however, Triple H Barn might be just the place.

Greg and Kathy Hovater never had intentions of building and operating a local wedding venue, but that changed in 2014 after a request by their oldest daughter, Laurie.

“She had asked me the fall of 2013, ‘Daddy, if I wanted to get married in a barn, would you build me an old barn?’ She literally just meant an old barn structure,” said Greg. As a local contractor, owning Hovater’s Metal Works, he figured that was a request he could easily agree to.

It wasn’t long after that Laurie became engaged to now-husband Adam Mitchell, and the time had come for Greg to make good on his promise. “After that she said, ‘Daddy, when are you going to start on the barn?’ And I said, well, I guess pretty soon.” Greg said he knew he could throw together a basic “old barn” structure for his firstborn, a no-frills place for just one wedding – “or we can do this right.” Ultimately, he decided to construct a nice, solid barn that would stand for weddings in years to come – and Triple H Barn, so named in honor of their three children, had begun.

“I am a contractor. We do commercial jobs, and I never want to do something just halfway,” Greg explained. “We did some checking around, checking prices, and it just seemed like something that would work.”

For Kathy, the whole idea was a dream best left in Greg’s capable hands. “I learned a long time ago if he had an idea to just to go with it. I trust him, and I know he will do his best,” Kathy said. “He knew what it would look like when he decided to build it.”

With Laurie’s wedding slated for Oct. 4, 2014, Greg didn’t have much time to bring his vision to reality. “We were working on it the day of the wedding. We were finishing it that morning – some of the railing, just little stuff,” Greg said. “I thought, ‘We’re going to really mess this up if we don’t have this finished.’”

But everything was ready for Laurie and Adam’s ceremony, and the Mitchells became the first of many to be married at the Franklin County venue. “During the construction of it, we had people come by, and we had a few weddings booked before we got done,” Greg said. “One was wanting to have their wedding before my daughter’s, and I said, ‘No, we’re not finished, and my daughter’s is going to be the first one.’”

Since then, Triple H has been the site for about 25 weddings per year – some inside the rustic barn, and some with the barn as beautiful backdrop. “It’s continuing to be better,” Greg said. “As time goes on, hopefully that will continue.”

With Hovater’s Metal Works’ office just down the road from the barn, the Hovaters are in close proximity to offer showing and talk with interested brides. Their office manager also takes care of booking and other details.

Triple H Barn has a grand entrance with 12-foot double doors in the front. The exterior is covered in cypress, and the metal roof completes the aesthetic. “It’s the Dutch-style type roof; it has three different roof slopes,” Greg said. A weather vane tops the highest peak.

Inside, brides are greeted by a large open area in which they can arrange the provided tables, chairs and benches however they like for their ceremony or reception. Wagon wheel chandelier lights cast a cozy glow on the stamped concrete floors. “It looks like old hardwood flooring with the shaker pegs in it and everything,” Greg said. A balcony provides the perfect way to capture unique pictures and can even offer additional seating if necessary. Separate changing rooms are available for the groom with his groomsmen and the bride and her bridesmaids. The entire venue is climate controlled.

“It’s nearly 25 feet tall in the center. All the walls are covered in wood, so it’s kind of a unique smell, and that always catches somebody when they come in. They say, ‘Oh, it smells so good,’” Greg said. He describes the venue’s atmosphere as comfortable and relaxed. “It’s a little more casual and laidback,” he said. “There’s nothing like it around here in this area. There are maybe some over in the Shoals or other areas, but here there aren’t many places to have a party, gathering or wedding.”

Greg said the majority of wedding parties will have the wedding outside and have the reception inside. Some smaller weddings have been held inside, with the reception easily accommodated in the same space. “Every wedding is different. It is amazing what you see,” Greg said.

The Hovaters try to make sure each bride can plan the wedding she’s dreamed of. An old flatbed truck and tractor provide ambience for photos, and brides can bring their own decorations to gussy it up as they desire. Some brides have also incorporated animals in their reception or ceremony – including horses and dogs.

One consideration is a firm sticking point for Greg. “We do not allow any alcohol, and that’s a deal-breaker for some. I just don’t believe in it,” he said.

Greg said they hope their two younger children – Morgan, 22, and Jarrett, 20 – will also choose to be married at Triple H. Aside from that, when it comes to looking at the future, the Hovaters plan to ride the barn wedding trend as long as it continues to be a favorite among today’s brides.  “The only thing we might do down the road is something like a covered area outside,” Greg added. “That would be something we might look at down the road.”


Photos by APRIL WARHURST

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